Ok all my friends-with-kids, this one’s for you! I’ve been wanting to share some simple tips for photographing your children at home for a while now. Since we’re all collectively social distancing and isolating ourselves from the outside world, now seems a good a time as any!
Without getting too into the weeds on technical details or composition, I’ve put together three tips to help bring your photos to the next level. The tips below are all geared towards shooting INSIDE your home. So break out that dusty DSLR and let’s have some fun!
Tip 1 – Natural Light
Photography is all about light, specifically natural light. So the first thing you want to do is open all your blinds and curtains in whichever room you’re shooting. Let that light pour in! Even on cloudy days or rooms with small windows, that natural light still comes through. Next, turn off all your lights. Overhead lighting, accent lamps, TVs etc. It might feel like it just got a little darker but trust me, all of that “artificial light” will do is cast shadows and an orange tint.
Shoot with YOUR back to the natural light source so that your children are facing the light. We want our subjects to have natural light casting on their bodies and faces. We don’t want the light behind them, or to have them backlit.
Oh and DON’T use the flash on your camera!
Tip 2 – Aperture Priority Mode
If you’ve been using your camera’s automatic settings, try taking the first step towards using it manually by putting it in Aperture Priority Mode (AP mode). If you’ve lost your camera manual, you can Google the make and model to find out exactly how to put it in AP mode. By using this mode, you can set your aperture and the camera will automatically adjust all other settings.
Aperture can be defined as the opening in a lens through which light passes to enter the camera. The lower the number = the bigger the opening and more light. The higher the number = the lower the opening and less light.
For portrait photography, I recommend setting an aperture of 2.8 or lower. This allows a lot of light in the camera, and helps your subject stand out from the background.
Tip 3 – Let Them Play!
My most-treasured photos, as well as my clients, are the ones where their kids are being themselves and have beautiful, natural smiles. You probably already know that trying to get your kids to all sit still and smile at the camera is a stressful, sweat-inducing workout that nobody has time for! So let them play with their toys, read books, bake cookies, whatever it is that they love to do. As the scene naturally unfolds, you’ll be there to capture their smiles and all the in-between moments.
Bonus Tip – Keep Things Neutral and Tidy!
Kids make messes and that’s part of the fun to photograph, but try to start with a clean-ish slate by tidying up the area you’ll be photographing in. Next, dress your kids in light-colored neutral clothes. Clothes reflect color back onto our subjects faces, so a plain white t-shirt is your best bet! I also like blues and greys. Steer clear of bright colors, busy patterns, or clothing with big logos and wording.
Leave me a comment below if you have any questions! Have fun!